The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-5 yesterday to send the nomination of John Roberts to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to the Senate floor. The lone woman on the committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), voted against John Roberts, saying, “…I’m the only woman on this committee. And when I started, I said that was going to be my bar. And he did not cross my bar.” Other Senators who voted against Roberts included Joe Biden (D-DE), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Dick Durbin (D-IL).
Senator Biden said that he focused on Roberts’ “commitment to defending fundamental rights recognized as being protected in the Constitution and … fully embraced by the American people,” including, “the right to disconnect the machine that is keeping you alive, if you are fully capable of making that decision.” Sen. Biden said, “But because Judge Roberts did not answer my questions … fully, he does not appear to share the same expansive view of fundamental rights of previous nominees I’ve supported, [and] I’m unwilling to take the constitutional risk at this moment in the court’s history.”
“We examined the only written record before us and saw John Roberts, aggressive activist in the Reagan administration, eager to narrow hard-won rights and liberties, especially voting rights, women’s rights, civil rights and disability rights,” said Sen. Kennedy in announcing his opposition to Roberts. “ÉAnd despite many invitations to do so, Roberts never distanced himself from the aggressively narrow views of that young lawyer in the Reagan administration.”
Debate on Roberts’ nomination on the Senate floor begins on Monday, and the full Senate vote is expected on Thursday. The Feminist Majority and many other leading women’s rights, civil rights, disability rights, civil liberties, separation of church and state, labor, and lesbian and gay rights groups oppose John Roberts and are urging Senators to vote “NO.”
TAKE ACTION Call your Senators TODAY and demand that they vote NO on Roberts. The Senate switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.